I had an interesting conversation yesterday with a student. He's wrestling with what Paul means in Romans 6:22--
But now that you have been set free from sin and have become slaves to God....
It makes sense that we've been set free from sin, but what does it mean that we're slaves to God? Aren't we free?
Our world preaches a kind of freedom from any rules or bounds or authorities. We greatly value our own sovereignty, the freedom to make our own decisions. Yet, God's Word teaches that everyone is a slave to something. It's not a matter of if you are a slave, but to whom you are a slave. On this, my student friend made an interesting observation.
Our world that promises freedom through personal sovereignty fails to see that all are slaves to sin. And it's this slavery that makes the world's "freedom" not actually free. Those who seek "freedom" through pleasure, entertainment, drugs, or pornography are attempting to escape all the things about life that are a part of life in our world: responsibility, relationships, hard work, and suffering. "Maybe I'll be happy if I can just escape those things for a while." Yet, one can't escape from those things, and thus the "freedom" that is sought is a falsehood.
Freedom in Christ (i.e. slavery to God) doesn't ignore the difficult realities of our world, instead it redeems them. Relationships and suffering become means by which we grow as people and learn about ourselves and our world. By embracing them according to God's direction and standards, we actually find life and participate in God's redeeming work in our world.
My student friend is seeing this at play in his life. Whereas he previously avoided difficult things at all costs, trying to play it easy and safe in every circumstance (often leading to sin), now he's learning to walk by faith. He's thinking about his past sin, not to dwell on it, but to learn from it. He's learning how God's strength comes through his weakness. He's learning that the easy way is often not the best way. And he's finding the power and conviction to walk according to God's ways.
I'm watching a man of God develop before my very eyes. It's exciting to see. Thank you for praying for us and our students.
PS- Some April Fool's fun for you nerdy types like me. Click here and enjoy the NES memories!